With the launch of my latest collection, Skye, I further explore the relationship between my creative process and the natural world and look for new ways to combine hand-dyeing techniques with my digital experimentation. In this post, I share some insight into the process behind the collection, and discuss how important nature is to my creative process and personal well-being.
In 2019 I first started using natural pigments to create dip-dye designs that depict landscapes and coastlines. This natural dye process is not an exact science, and with each new print I never know quite what the end result will be. It requires you to jump in, trust the process and embrace the element of surprise. This kind of creative exploration is very freeing (and a little scary), and led me to create designs that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have.
Using natural dyes and natural fabric also produces deep colours and textures that are hard to replicate in paint and other drawing techniques. I see the natural world as a mosaic of texture and colour, and this way of seeing is central to my design style and expression.
During 2020, nature became a source of solice. Like many people, it gave me a sense of connectivity to the world and benefited (and continues to benefit) my well-being throughout lockdown. With time on my hands, I began rummaging through the thousands of images I have taken over the years of landscapes, leaves, plants, bark, moss, sea shells... until I came to a folder of images of one of my favourite places, Scotland.
I have explored Scotland previously in my Munro collection and Scottish landscape prints, but I find endless inspiration in the stunning natural beauty of its lochs, moors, mountains and coastline. In the midst of lockdown, this beauty and inspiration was even more potent.
I decided to revisit my natural dip-dye experiments and love of the Scottish landscape, and combine them with my digital design process. I scanned my numerous dip-dye swatches, juxtaposed them against selected photographs, and began to rework colours and layers to capture the atmosphere of the Scottish landscape. A style of print started to emerge that captured the scale and majesty of mountains and coastlines, with the texture and colour of rocks, lichen and plants.
The end result is the Skye collection of silk and leather bags. The final prints use earthy tones including a rusty orange, soft sandstone, moss green, and deep purples. These printed silk and leather clutch bags capture the depth and tone of the dip-dye technique, while the digital retouching allows me to enhance the compositions and textures present in the Scottish landscape. When combined with the simplicity of the clutch bag shape, these prints really stand out and pop with energy. Contemporary and stylish, these signature clutch bags are like holding a small piece of the Scottish landscape in your hands.
You can find the Skye Collection here.